On November 3rd Super Typhoon Haiyan formed in the Pacific Ocean, the width of the entire US east coast, with the fastest wind speed ever recorded. As the storm approached Global Disaster Immediate Response Team (DIRT) prepared to respond to the Philippines with all available assets and stood up an assessment and communications team arriving immediately after flights resumed. As the aftermath of the storm became clear, Global DIRT deployed medical and K-9 rescue teams to Tacloban City, Philippines while the other teams mapped out the impact zone with an Immersive Media Camera, creating a google streetview-type environment for responders. DIRT communications teams also deployed large scale communications assets donated from CISCO, GATR, and New Spirit Alliance. DIRT teams also simultaneously coordinated relief flights of medical personnel, while facilitating last-mile delivery of mission critical supplies, with helicopters reaching remote villages not accessible by vehicle.
Now, over two months after the storm, there is still an ongoing need to assist the Government of the Philippines with the proper collection and burial of human remains. After the storm the Global DIRT Search and Rescue K-9 team was the first to arrive and provide support locating victims in the debris. After the initial two week deployment, Global DIRT was again requested by the government to re-deploy K-9 assets to augment the Human Remains Collection Task Force and deployed additional personnel and human remains detection (HRD) dogs. At the close of the second deployment it became clear that there will continue to be an ongoing need for K-9 support to facilitate the timely and safe collection of human remains. Due to the risk of desecrating remains during the debris removal process, heavy equipment can’t be used in areas that remain uncleared, causing delays in early recovery. Human remains pose a health risk, the Philippines has a low water table and cholera is endemic in the country.
Global DIRT is seeking to actively raise funds to continue the response to Super Typhoon Haiyan. The Government of the Philippines has officially requested our team to scale up, deploy 10 K-9 teams, redeploy assets to continue the operation, and finally put the last victims still yet to be recovered to rest. If economically possible, please consider donating today to aid in the relief effort. Global DIRT is an all volunteer organization that strives to keep administration costs low and is putting all donations made for field response efforts. Every dollar matters as we continue to engage in the ongoing life saving efforts in the Philippines. To donate today please click the DONATE link on the right hand side of this page.
We will continuously update this page as time permits with details of our movements.
For news stories of our team in the Philippines, check out the links below!
K-9 Team Operations: